Contributed by: Francis Lau, Engineering Manager of Seagate Technology

Nationwide lockdowns meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 mean that an estimated third of the world’s population have had to shift to living, learning and working from home in the past few months.

Every day, over a billion children headed to school – until now. COVID-19 has resulted in nearly three-fourths of that population having to learn from home. Speed is suffering. In Australia, data demand increased 70 to 80 percent during daytime hours. Australia and Japan are feeling slightly larger strains, with Malaysia ranking second on the list of countries experiencing the most internet strain in the move home during COVID-19.

That move has uncovered vulnerabilities in data security. Increased internet traffic on home networks, which are often used more recreationally and not for heavy school or office work, lacks the enterprise-level protections that these institutions have in place. Remote networks – like those at home – join hospitals as prime targets for cyberattacks, as networks open to allow for remote working and learning.

Intersections between school, work, and home mean that we need to take extra care to protect our work as we balance our professional and academic lives with life. To make transitions easier as we try to adapt – and to better protect ourselves moving forward – here are some tech solutions you can turn to make your home a safer, more productive, and more connected place during COVID-19 transitions.

1. Take stock of your digital essentials, which may not just include your devices

For a lot of us, moving home can mean dealing with a lot more data than we’re used to – and therefore increased awareness about how much important data we deal with every day. That doesn’t just mean online textbooks or the quarterly report. For a lot of us, that means baby pictures, birthdays – and any lockdown dances the family decides to record for social media.

Now is a great time to put data storage structure into place – or improve the structure you already have. Consider your data needs for your mobile devices, tablets, laptops, desktops, and social media feeds, and come up with an organizational system so you can find everything. The amount of storage space you want as well as the system you want to use will help determine which storage solution will fit you best. Seagate’s IronWolf drives complement network-attached storage (NAS) servers well, to store large files like media libraries over networks and connected devices like smart TVs and tablets.

Keep in mind that a combination of storage solutions may work best together for maximum data security and efficiency.

2. Use a cloud solution to turn your home into a connected hub

This solution is best when access is your priority.

Using cloud storage is second nature for so many of us already. A personal cloud storage system designed for a private setting can work through your home or office internet to form a connected hub. That hub means that those using the space are free to back up terabytes of files. Your data is stored on-site in your home, to be shared between users you designate, instead of on a third-party service.

3. Use an external drive to back up large files locally for easy access

This solution is best when capacity is your priority.

When working on a final project, every moment counts. Large, important files can be tedious to download from a server. Use an external hard drive to keep and backup your files without slowing your work down. Your external drive can act as an extension of your desktop or mobile device. Depending on the model, Seagate’s Backup Plus drives can be portable, stationary, and usable between Mac and PC.

4. Use a portable SSD to take and store essentials with you on the go

This solution is best when speed is your priority.

We’ve all been there before: crunch time, as we’re pushing last-minute work. In this case, a portable solid state drive like the Ultra Touch SSD might be the best fit. For those with lifestyles and work that require quick changes, the drive keeps projects-in-progress safe with you as you move throughout the day. The system can back your files up continuously and slip into your bag for easy storage. It still can store around 1 TB of information (think 400 Netflix movies).

5. Create physical and digital boundaries

It may not feel like you have much physical space between your work and your home life now, but even simple boundaries in place can help future-proof your work. For example, your pet, thrilled at his sudden surplus of company, loves to play with your keyboard! Put your computer to sleep when you have to run to the kitchen and set ground rules about who can be in whose space at what time. Maybe you work with a closed door and your pet on the other side of it. Maybe there are no phones or laptops at the dinner table. This protects your time, productivity, and devices.

So much of our daily lives is data-driven. Protecting and streamlining our digital assets will go a long way toward future-proofing our businesses and education, while also creating time and space for us to have quality moments with our loved ones.

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